The noun “joy” derives from the Latin verb “gaudere” which means “to rejoice.”

This is important. “Joy” started life as an action word, not a description of a state or a possession. Rejoicing is something we do, not something we have.

In Philippians 4:4 Paul encourages his readers to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.”

The Greek word translated “rejoice” is chairo; it is related to grace. One possible translation of chairo is “be well.” This may sound a little more bland than rejoice; it may lack some of the splash and dazzle we might hope for when we think of being joyful. But, the idea of being well be seems more doable than the ecstatic good cheer that is the territory at times associated with joy.

“Joy” may be connected to the experience to which the fourteenth century British mystic Julian of Norwich alluded when she wrote in her Revelations of Divine Love of knowing deep in her being that “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

To experience joy is to choose to dwell in that place within myself that is stronger, more real, and more lasting than all the changeableness of circumstance. I rejoice, not because I trust that everything is coming up roses. I rejoice because I trust that, the beauty of the flower is greater and more real than the thorns on its stem.

What choices can I make that might help me connect with a deep inner abiding sense of well-being?

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